NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. (AP) — A former auxiliary police officer testified Wednesday that a woman charged with killing her 5-year-old son in New Jersey nearly 25 years ago showed no emotion when she reported her son missing from a carnival.
Kevin Skolnik, who served with the Sayreville police force, said on the stand that Michelle Lodzinski was not hysterical, screaming or upset when she made the report in 1991. However, defense lawyers presented previous statements that said Lodzinski was "confused and was like a zombie."
Testimony began after both sides presented their opening statements Wednesday morning. A former crime scene unit member from the Middlesex County prosecutor's office also testified and was expected to return to the stand Thursday.
In their opening, prosecutors showed jurors a blanket that was found near Timothy Wiltsey's body, and said it came from Lodzinski's apartment. The item was identified by Lodzinski's niece, who often babysat the boy.
"The evidence will show it was his mother, Michelle Lodzinski. The very person who brought him into the world took him out of it," assistant county prosecutor Christie Bevacqua said.
However, defense lawyer Gerald Krovatin told jurors that Lodzinski was a loving mother and that no one has ever found any evidence that links her to the boy's death.
"There is probably nothing more horrible to contemplate than the death of a child, any child, especially your child," Krovatin said. "Maybe the only thing worse is the day when they turn around and someone falsely accuses you of killing your own child."
Lodzinski was arrested in 2014 in Florida, where she was living. She has long been a suspect in Timothy's disappearance.
She said he vanished while they were at a carnival in Sayreville in 1991. His remains were found miles away in Edison the following year.
She later changed her story, saying Timothy was kidnapped from the carnival.
Though Lodzinski was considered a suspect from early on, the investigation was rekindled in 2011 when authorities took a closer look at a reference in the case to an anonymous caller.
In a transcript of grand jury testimony that was attached to a defense filing, an investigator described how an anonymous caller said he had information about it. The tip wound up referring to a boy named Tommy, but it spurred Middlesex County investigator Scott Crocco to revisit the case file and, eventually, to interview the niece about the blanket.